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Eye Test

An eye test is a medical procedure that examines the general health of a person’s eye or eyes, which can either be a routine check up or a necessity due to symptoms of an underlying problem being suspected. Eye tests can be relatively short or long, depending on the procedures used to check on the eyes. Eye tests are available for free from some opticians, or for all children, income support claimants or OAPs. Eye tests can exist in a number of stages which examine different aspects of eye health. One of these parts of an eye test is the slit lamp examination, a popular procedure used worldwide.

The origin of the slit lamp is largely credited to Herman von Helmholtz, who in 1851 developed the advancement of the ophthalmoscope in the study of eye health. Whilst this instrument was basic in design and use, it paved the way for modern slit lamp technology and use, which has helped identify and understand eye conditions worldwide.

The slit lamp examination is used to examine the structures at the front of the eyes, namely the conjunctiva, cornea, iris, lens, eyelids and sclera. The nature of the examination enables the identification of injury, infection, disease or abnormality of these structures. Examples of this include foreign objects on or in the eye, damage to the cornea caused by injury, the discovery or monitoring of cataracts, retinal detachment, glaucoma and various other complications.

The slit lamp examination uses two components, both the slit lamp itself and a biomicroscope to view the results that the slit lamp displays. An examination will involve the examinee sitting in a chair with their chin rested on a pad often attached to the slit lamp, in order to keep the head steady. A thin beam of light from the slit lamp is then passed across the front of the eye. Often, a small amount of dye will be added to the surface of the eye in order to aid examination. This process is harmless in the vast majority of cases, as the eye naturally washes the dye out. However, if severe discomfort develops, it is crucial to seek medical advice. In other cases, eye drops will be added to dilate the pupils to enable further examination. The eye(s) will then feel sensitive to light for a few hours afterwards, which is entirely normal. Once the process has been completed, the optician will analyse the observations he or she has made, and make judgments for further procedures if necessary.